Please see our new web site http://www.next2.us to learn more about the company, software and SMS service in Kenya and the USA.
Next2.us provides place-based, topic-driven social network by SMS in the United States and Kenya. The solution allows users to connect together around place and common topics of interests. Text messages are automatically exchanged based on user's location, overlay of sharing circle between users and message keywords. Please see SMS Instructions Page (above) to register your mobile phone and start your Next2.us account.
If you have already registered your mobile phone you can use Next2.us mobile version to send text messages, change your settings or post content to your account http://m.next2.us
We have updated the mobile version of Next2.us to make it easier to add content and automatically exchange messages with other users based on location and common topics of interest. There are two types of messages you can exchange with other user.
To add content to your Next2.us account and exchange messages:
When another user post content that matches your's the messages are automatically exchanged between users. If you have registered via SMS the message appears on your mobile phone. If you registered via the mobile version of Next2.us the exchanged message will appear in your Next2.us /Message page.
Messages are exchanged based on location and your privacy settings. To check these login to Next2.us and;
We will be periodically running the process to compare and exchange messages between users.
Get things to run in East Africa is a real chore. It's not just the distance and time difference that make things "interesting" its the cultural differences. Things just take longer. Here is where we are on;
1. We updated the proximity search in the mobile version. Now it displays users by their proximity to you by location. You do not need to be logged in to use it. Just enter a location (you can use Next 2 at left), select a radius and hit search. This will display a list of users by proximity to a location
2. Tomorrow we will have an easier way to add content using the mobile version. All you have to do is select have, want or discuss from a list, enter a word or phrase to work with have, want or discuss and add you text. Content added using the mobile version matches with SMS messages. If you get a match it it appears in your /Messages Inbox or comes to your mobile phone.
3. On May 1st we hope to be at standard (normal) messaging rates using our Kenya premium short code. Whatever you pay to send text messages will apply to using our short code. Nothing more, nothing less.
We have lots more in the works.
Good News! Starting May, 1, 2011 Next2.us Kenya short code 5557 will be at normal text message rate charged by your mobile network operator. This means the KSH 5 to send text message using our Kenya short code will be eliminated. There will be NO additional charge to register, send and receive text messages using Next2.us' Kenya short code 5557. You text message rate to send and receive text messages using our short code will be at the rate charged by your mobile network operator!
When I am not working on my software start-up I like to paint and create large wood-fired ceramic scultptures. I am a self-taught artist. This is an example of one of my pieces. Its a large (8 foot by 4 foot) acrylic painting on plywood.
I find there are a lot of the same creative processes used when creating software or art.
Below is another large piece. Its 8 feet by 3 feet acrylic/pastel painting on artist canvas. Many times I have a general idea of what I want to create and then just go at it. In this piece I tried to sketch a large vessel I was working on. It totally changed into something else during it's creation.
Here is one of the best articles on art and software by Paul Graham.
OpenIDEO is fabulous platform for collaborating new crowd-source ideas to address some of the world's most troubling problems. Next2.us has been participating in challenge to come up with new ways to improve maternal health. The 285 initial inspirations where reduced to 182 concepts. Community members, OpenIDEO and challenge sponsors Oxfam and Nokia then voted on the top 20.
We are very pleased and want to thank the community and sponsors for selecting Next2.us Global Village Supporting New Mothers concept as one of the top 20. We are looking forward to working with all finalists, community members, sponsors and OpenIDEO to further refine our concepts for possibly implementation by the sponsors.
Congratulations to all finalists! Looking foward to working with you.
Thanks to http://www.flickr.com/photos/frerieke/3130489707/ for use of image under Creative Commons license
UPDATE: Next2.us is now at STANDARD TEXT MESSAGE rates in Kenya. This means it is no ore expensive to send a text message using Next 2's Kenya short code then to text your family of friend(s)
Send a text message to help your friends and neighbors
Take a moment and send a text message that may make a difference in someone's life.
Send the following text message to Kenya short code 5557
(Ksh 1 send, ksh 0 to receive)
reg name Nairobi Kenya
Substitute your name (or a name you want to use)
reg brip Nairobi Kenya
This tells the service to start your account with the name and location you provide. You can always change your location, add content, match messages with other users by text messaging and use all of Next 2 great features without revealing your mobile phone number.
Do not forget to start your text message with the SMS command reg
I, as well as the millions of people in Kenya that have a mobile phone but do not connect to the Interent, could use your help. It will only take a minute of your time but it may a difference to your fellow Kenyans who have never used social networks like Twitter or Facebook.
You see, the company I built, Next 2, connects people together around place and topics of interest using only simple SMS text messaging. It allows people to discover, connect, share and act with people that are near them so they can find local solutions to local problems.
Next 2 is very simple to use. But, before we release Next 2 in Kenya we really need your help testing the software. We are asking you to please take a moment out of your busy day and send a text message.
Text - reg name Nairobi Kenya - to 5557
Replace <name> with any word or name you want. The name acts like an account name when using Next 2. Choose a short name (must be at least 4 characters in length ) so it is easy for others to remember and type.
That is it!
To start; just register a name with the Next 2 SMS service so we can text you the next step.
There is a KSH 1 cost to send a text message. There is NO FEE to receive text messages using Next 2. You can unregister your mobile phone at anytime by texting - unreg - to 5557.
Once you register your mobile phone you will receive a reply that confirms your account name and password that works at http://m.next2.us
When we have enough people registered we will send you a text message on your mobile phone asking your to send another text message to 5557. We will ask you to either text;
When we have enough messages we will run a process that will match the messages based on location and topics and exchange them. If you message matches with another user it will be exchanged with that user. Your privacy is protected. Your mobile number is private. Only your Next 2 name is exchanged with other users. And, you can choose to communicate with other users using a Next 2 name.
So register a name you may want to use that is easy to remember and type.
We want to thank you for helping us test Next 2 SMS-powered, place-based, topic-driven social network in Kenya.
We are working on reducing our SMS rates to standard text messaging rates in the near future,
From Kenyan mobile phone;
Text; reg name location to 5557
It cost ksh 5 to send a text (hoping to lower to standard text rates next month)
It cost ksh 0 to receive text message using Next 2.
At anytime text unreg to remove your mobile phone and delete your data.
Next2.us lets people automatically connect around place and common topics of interest. The software is accessible via a mobile version and via SMS in Kenya and the United States. The software is easy to use. You just register with a name and location and then post messages about what you have, want or would like to talk about followed by a keyword or keyphrase.
The software then at future point in time (typically midnight) gathers all the messages together and exchanges them based on user's location, proximity between user and keywords.
Why help test?
We've built Next2.us for a number of applicatons but our initial target are overlooked and undersvalued communities in Kenya that are not on the internet but have access to a mobile phone. We hope by using Next2.us neighbors that may live near each other but not know about their common interest or needs can discover each other, connect and communicate via SMS messaging.
Even though you may already be on the internet please help us test the software before we release it to radio stations, NGOs and religious organizations in Kenya.
How can I help?
From Kenyan mobile phone;
Text; reg name location to 5557
That all you need to do to start. Once you are registered we will send you instructions by text message on how to help us test the service.
There is a KSH 5 charge to send a message using Next 2. (We are hoping to lower the rates to standard text rates next month).
The is NO FEE to receive messages using Next 2
Here are some things to consider when choosing a name for your Next 2 account.
Your name must be at least four (4) characters in lenght.
Keep you name short and easy to remember cause it acts like a SMS address and a web page that you can share with others.
Thanks to everyone that helped test Next 2 SMS commands in Kenya and USA. The testing was a success and we confirmed that all seven (7) Next sms commands work in Kenya. Due to your help we were able to discover and fix a small bug in the "loc" command. This was introduced when we removed the need for the word "Kenya" at the beginning of every text message sent to our Kenya short code 5557. Remember: you no longer need to begin your Kenyan text messages with "Kenya." Just start your text with the Next 2 SMS command you want to use followed by your message.
Next step is to integrate Next 2 message match technology into the Kenya service. We hope to begin testing the message match feature very soon. We will post a testing request to our blog when we are ready to test message match.
Again thank you to all our testers. You are fabulous!
Remember we are always looking for people to help test the service in Kenya and the United States. Please refer them to this blog or on Twitter to @hungrygarden
wow, these people get it! i am coming to the end of long day. its been a long 6 weeks getting our premium short code set-up and working and now the service has gone into early alpha release. here i am spending months and months designing and working, pivoting and weaving, targeting a population that lives in a country thousands of miles from my own.
sure, its been exhilirating. it always is when you get positive feedback. it's what keeps you going. but, there is so much more to do. it's been a great ride. now, almost too good. cause when you are in development, it's clean. the clutter and chaos, is in its own way simple because you can plan. you have control over your time and efforts.
but once you start having testers and users they soon turn into customers and they bring their own demands for time and attention. it's never the same. it is never so simple again. it changes from an idea into a project and before you know it's a product. and products need company.
on this journey i have been very lucky to met tremendous people that have help lift me up. twitter is the single best invention for international business and development since Lindberg crossed the atlantic. i have been able to sit in a room within shadow of the blue ridge mountains and by tweets fly my project to the foothills of Mt Kenya.
but twitter has brought me to the intelligentia, the movers, the shakers, great people all and to all i am eternally indebted but those are not the people i have come for. those are not the customers for which i have spent over a year and thousands of dollars building a new product for.
these are the people i have come to meet. wow. thick value. i can almost taste it. and i am hungry.
"We need to find ways of encouraging innovators in Africa to create thick value for the BoP consumer even if it means ‘subordinating [their] individual interest and pride’ for a cause bigger than themselves.
Any ideas on how the government and/or the private sector can help do this?"
YES! i have an idea and it's called Next2.us